If you want a golden rule that will fit everybody, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.
—William Morris “The Beauty of Life,” 1880
I HAVE A COLLECTION OF TEAPOTS. One of them is completely unusable—the handle is on the same side as the spout. It was invented by the French artist Jacques Carelman, who called it a coffeepot: a “coffeepot for masochists.” Mine is a copy of the original. A picture of it appears on the cover of my book The Design of Everyday Things.
The second item in my collection is the teapot called Nanna, whose unique squat and chubby nature is surprisingly appealing. The third is a complicated but practical “tilting” pot made by the ...